Microsoft Outlook - Frequently Asked Questions

Setup and Licensing

 1. I installed the trial version and [Feature] is greyed out!

Did you activate the product?  (Help menu)

2. I bought the Office Home and Student Edition, how do I get Outlook installed?

Outlook isn't part of the Home and Student Edition suite anymore - it's been replaced with OneNote.  You'll either need to return that and get an edition that DOES contain Outlook or buy Outlook separately.



3. How can I share a firm calendar between multiple users?

If you have an Exchange Server or a SharePoint Server you can create a Public Folder or a SharePoint list.  If not you may be able to find something helpful here:



4. How can I STOP Outlook 2007 from automatically checking RSS?

Go into Send/Receive Groups (CTRL+ALT+S) and edit the default Send/Receive group.  Select RSS from the left side and uncheck the box at the top that tells Outlook to check the RSS feeds as a member of that Send/Receive Group.



5. Where do I find SCANPST in Outlook 2007?  Click Start, Run and type: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office12\ in the box, and then press ENTER. Find and double-click Scanpst.  NOTE: If you're using 64-bit Vista it may be under the Program Files (x86) folder.  As a general rule SCANPST.EXE can be found in the same folder that OUTLOOK.EXE is in.

6. How do I start Outlook with the Reading Pane turned off?  Start Outlook with the /Nopreview switch.  See if this helps -

7. I have e-mail messages stuck in my Outbox - HELP! 

Click File | Work Offline.  Is Outlook in Offline mode already?  If so, click Work Offline to put it back in Online mode and see if your messages send now.  Otherwise...put Outlook in Offline mode. Go to your Outbox and delete the stuck message.  Click File | Work Offline to put Outlook back Online.

See if this helps:

8. I had a list of categories in my Outlook 2003 but I don't see that list on my new machine in Outlook 2007!  Can I move it over somehow?

Outlook 2003 saves Categories as registry entries while Outlook 2007 saves them in the default message store.  To move your categories over from 2003 to 2007 you could try exporting the registry key and importing it on your 2007 machine.  Outlook 2007 may try to convert them for you.  OR you could create a test item - a task perhaps - and assign EVERY category you want to bring over to it.  Then transfer that item (as an e-mail attachment or in a PST file perhaps) to your 2007 machine and manually use the "Add to Master Category List" feature for each category.  See here for more info:

9. My PST File Has Disappeared from Outlook!

There can be a couple of reasons for that.  The most common is that you've closed the data file in Outlook.  Getting it back is as simple as clicking File | Open | Outlook Data File and select the PST file to re-open.

Another possibility is that you've actually moved or deleted the PST file from it's default location.  That's hard to do accidentally but it's not unprecedented.  Check your Windows Recycle Bin and see if you find the PST file sitting in there waiting for you to un-delete it.  If it's not there then you need to check the default folder locations for it:

"C:\Documents and Settings\
<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook" is for Windows XP
\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook" is for Vista.

If you don't see the PST file there, then you will need to search your computer for it.  In Windows Explorer click the Search button or field (depending upon your version of Windows) and type "*.PST" in the filename field.  Make sure the search is configured to search Hidden and System folders since many of the data folders in XP and Vista are actually hidden (including the default locations specified above).

You might also find this article helpful:

10. When I try to click a link in an e-mail message I get an error that says something about "Restrictions being in effect" on my computer and the link won't open! 

Go to Internet Explorer, click Tools | Internet Options | Advanced and then click the RESET button. While you're there make sure that IE is set as the default browser.  Important: Close Chrome (if it's still installed), go to Task Manager (CTRL+SHIFT+ESC) and make sure that Chrome isn't still running before you reset IE to be the default.

It can also help to upgrade, if you haven't already, to Internet Explorer 9. It's just a better browser than the older versions of IE were anyhow.

If that doesn't help see if this helps:



11. Can I do a "While You Were Out" telephone message e-mail form in Outlook?  I'd like my secretary to be able to e-mail my phone messages to me in that manner.  Sure.  You don't really NEED a special form for it; she could just send you an e-mail message that says "Call Joe Smith at 555-1212 regarding the Jones matter" but if you really want a special form for it check out this template.

12. How do I stop Outlook 2007 from suggesting e-mail addresses when I'm creating e-mail?  Tools | Options | E-mail Options | Advanced E-mail Options and uncheck the "Suggest names while completing To, Cc and Bcc fields."

13. What if I want to delete all of those cached addresses?  In Outlook 2007: Find and delete the .NK2 file for your profile. In Outlook 2010: Go to File | Options | Mail and click the "Empty Auto-Complete List" button.

14. What if I just want to delete a single one of those cached addresses?  Start to type an address that would suggest the bad address, when the bad address shows up on the suggestion list use your arrow keys (NOT YOUR MOUSE) to highlight it and then press the Delete key.

15. How can I get new mail notifications for messages received in subfolders?  You can't do it natively with Outlook, but perhaps you can find a suitable third-party utility here:

16. In Outlook 2007 when I click the "TO" button in a new e-mail message I don't see any of my Contacts listed in the address book.

1. Right-click your Contacts folder, go to Properties and the "Outlook Address Book" tab.  Check the box for "Show this folder as and email address book.
2. If that option is greyed out...go to Tools | Account Settings | Address Books and see if there is an Outlook Address Book listed.  I'm betting there won't be.  Click "New" and add an Outlook Address Book ("Additional Address Books", Next, Outlook Address Book...).  Then reattempt step #1.

17. Why is it that Outlook 2007 is now downloads my newest e-mail messages first?  It used to download the older ones first!
That's a change that was made in Service Pack 2 to the POP mail service.  The idea was that the newest messages were more likely to be the more important ones so they should be downloaded first.

18. I seem to have lost my signatures in Outlook, do I have to retype them?!
No.  Actually the easiest way to recreate them, perhaps because you've moved to a new machine, is to go to your Sent Items folder, find a message you sent previously that had the correct signature on it, select that signature and copy it to the Clipboard with CTRL+C.  Then go to create a new signature (Tools | Options | Mail Format most likely, depending upon your version of Outlook) and just paste that content into the new signature.  Save it and you can start using it right away.

19. I'm using Outlook 2003 and my IMAP mailbox won't download more than 65,000 items, what's up?
The problem is you're using one of the old format (binary) PST files. Those files were limited to about 65,000 items in any one folder. The solution would be to upgrade your PST file to a UNICODE PST File, which doesn't have that limit.  Unfortunately Outlook didn't support UNICODE PST files until Outlook 2007.  So you'll either need to split your e-mail into multiple folders, each with less than 65,000 items, or upgrade to a newer version of Outlook and then upgrade your PST file to the UNICODE format.



20. How do I get the Contacts field to appear at the bottom of my items in Outlook 2007? 

Go to Tools | Options | Contact Options and check the box "Show Contact Linking on All Forms".

21. I need to be able to separate my contacts into groups, what's the best way?

There are two basic ways to do it.

1. Create subfolders and store your contacts in the appropriate subfolders.  This can be a o.k. way to do it if each contact will only appear in one subfolder or if you need to grant permissions to other users to access these subfolders and you want them to be isolated from each other.

2. Use categories.  Assign each contact to one or more categories and then create custom views to allow you to see the different categories in various ways.  This is usually the best solution to this problem.

22. I used to enter a number 8005551212 and it would change to (800) 555-1212. It will not do that anymore. I changed the dialing rule, which does not work.

Not good enough to change the dialing rule, you need to re-create it. Try this:

  1. Go to Dialing Properties. (via Control Panel, most likely)
  2. In the I am dialing from section, click Remove. Repeat this if there are multiple dialing locations - you need to get rid of them all.
  3. Click New, type the country or region and area code that you want, make any other changes that are necessary for your location, and then click OK.


Last Updated: 08/12/2015